It's the unofficial start of the summer season and Kelowna international airport is preparing for a busy Victoria Day long weekend.
Up to 8,000 travellers a day are expected to pass through the gates on the busiest days of Friday and Sunday.
“When we look at our point-of-sales data, we see that the majority of our inbound passengers are coming from the east coast and from Eastern Canada. So Toronto, Montreal, the east coast,” said Phillip Elchitz, senior manager, of airport operations.
He adds that there’s also been an increase in passengers coming from parts of the United States, including Los Angeles and other areas along the west coast. “So we’re really starting to see a good diversity of passengers and the places that they’re coming from.”
The heavy volume and continued staffing challenges mean you need to arrive at least two hours before your flight.
“It’s really a collaborative approach,” he explains. “The passenger needs to be collaborative by ensuring that they check in online at home. When they get here, they understand how they can use the self-service kiosk, use the bag drops.
“Then it’s collaborative as well as far as the airport is concerned. Making sure that the lines are managed as best they can. Making sure that people can get through security on time.”
Elchitz notes that an x-ray machine that broke down earlier this month has been fixed and the airport hopes to have enough staff to open all four pre-board screening lines for the long weekend.
Recovery to pre-pandemic passenger levels has been gradual but Elchitz says the forecast predicts YLW will be at 85 per cent of 2019 volume by the end of the year.